Wednesday

23rd Aug 2017

Dutch pro-Europe parties win heated election

  • Caretaker prime minister Mark Rutte’s Liberals party win the most seats in Dutch elections. (Photo: Minister-president Rutte)

Pro-European parties swept to victory in Dutch elections on Wednesday (13 September) despite concerns that eurosceptics would increase their influence on future decision-making powers.

Some 96 percent of the votes had been counted with official results expected later on Thursday morning.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

But exit polls give caretaker prime minister Mark Rutte's Liberals 41 seats and the centre-left Labour Party 39 in the 150-member lower house with hardliners on both sides of the political divide losing considerable ground.

Pundits had initially predicted the two would only grab 70 seats.

"We won our greatest victory in history and for the second time became the largest party in the Netherlands," said Rutte.

The far-left Socialists, who had campaigned against austerity and eurozone bailouts, are likely to end up with just 15 seats.

Meanwhile, firebrand Geert Wilders of the anti-immigration Freedom Party had campaigned for the Netherlands to leave the euro and the European Union. The verdict has hit Wilders' party the hardest - his party is set to lose about a third of his seats, dropping from 24 to 13.

The far-left's anti-austerity message had ignited debate on Europe's future and the Netherlands' role in the Union in the run-up to the vote.

The Liberals and the Labour parties backed the eurozone rescue packages, criticised by hardliners.

The snap election came after Rutte's minority coalition collapsed in April over disputes on the country’s obligation to meet its EU budget deficit targets in 2013. Wilders' had opposed the welfare cuts required to meet the Brussels-imposed target.

The EU quickly praised the result, with home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom tweeting; "Pro-European parties win in Dutch elections. Good news."

The Dutch elections are being seen as a reflection of broader public sentiment in the EU, with the results coming on the same day that Germany's constitutional court rejected legal challenges against the eurozone's bailout fund.

The result assuages fears that a fiercely anti-Europe Dutch parliament would have threatened the EU's efforts to solve the euro-crisis.

On the last leg of his campaign trail, Rutte told voters that he would not sign the country up to a third Greek bailout despite VVD party promises to do everything to keep the eurozone in order.

He is to begin the task of forming a new government later on Thursday in a process which could take months.

Labour's new leader, Diederik Samsom, while campaigning won a string of TV debates which helped propel him into the limelight. Experts say a coalition between the two is likely.

Tough talk on Europe as Dutch go to polls

In the run-up to election day in the Netherlands, there was much tough talk on Europe. But a lot of it was campaign rhetoric and polls suggest a more balanced outcome.

Dutch PM misses EU summit to save coalition

Dutch PM Mark Rutte has asked his Luxembourgian colleague Xavier Bettel to take his place at the EU summit in Brussels as he battles to save his government in the Netherlands.

Analysis

Visegrad lobby makes food quality an EU issue

Fico convinced the EU commission chief to take action in the perceived problem of discriminatory food practices, even though the evidence for the phenomenon is anecdotal.

Opinion

Setting course for strong and focused EU

From strengthening the internal market to completing the energy union, the prime ministers of Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland set out their vision for the EU.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls on Serbia and Macedonia to remain calm
  2. Schulz wants US to remove nuclear weapons from Germany
  3. Ukraine and Russia to announce another ceasefire
  4. EU to investigate Monsanto-Bayer merger
  5. US will ask Nato allies to send more troops into Afghanistan
  6. Greece to be absent at event on Communism and Nazism
  7. Czechs want observer status in Eurogroup meetings
  8. Putin sends EU-blacklisted ambassador to US

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference